Luca Engstler will make his second appearance in the FIA World Touring Car Cup this year when he stands in for Augusto Farfus at the BRC Racing Team in Macau, with Farfus facing clashing commitments for the November race.
Engstler will take to the wheel of Farfus’ Hyundai i30 N TCR on the Circuito da Guia, with the Brazilian unable to compete in WTCR due to his commitments as a factory BMW GT driver, having signed to race in the FIA GT World Cup on the same circuit.
19-year-old Engstler has already taken to the WTCR grid this year when he took part in the Race of Slovakia as a wildcard entry, finishing tenth in races one and three in an impressive début at the top level of touring car racing, despite carrying a 20 kg wildcard handicap.
“I’m really happy to have this chance to race in the FIA World Touring Car Cup with the BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team,” said Engstler, who has never before raced on the infamous street circuit.
“Since first driving the Hyundai i30 N TCR in TCR Germany last year I have been able to progress to first winning races, and then winning championships with the support of the Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing department and the Junior Driver program, so to now have the chance in FIA WTCR is a huge opportunity.
“I’ve already started to train for the event. It will be a new track for me, and I expect the weekend to be very physical with three races on a very demanding street circuit.
“In such a competitive series as FIA WTCR you need arrive at the start of the weekend completely ready, so I’m using every minute to prepare.”
The drive comes as a reward for Engstler’s success in Asia, where he has successfully defended his TCR Asia title in Hyundai machinery in 2019, as well as dominating the TCR Malaysia series at the start of the year.
The German is also a regular in the TCR Europe series, where he has taken a victory at the Red Bull Ring earlier in the year and is fifth overall in the drivers’ standings.
“Luca Engstler has had an excellent season in TCR competition around and the decision by BRC Racing Team to recruit him for the Macau weekend is a massive reward for results this year,” said Hyundai Motorsport Team Director Andrea Adamo.
“As a Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing Junior Driver his results with the Hyundai i30 N TCR have been very impressive, and he has progressed superbly as part of the initiative.
“We have seen consistently in several series that he has the ability to race at the front and win.
“The step into FIA WTCR is – of course – a big one but both I, and BRC Racing Team, are confident that he can compete at the very highest level of Touring Car racing.”
Farfus was disappointed to not be able to compete in both GTs and touring cars in Macau, as he had previously done at the Nürburgring 24 Hour weekend in June.
“It’s painful to be honest because it’s a track where I perform extremely well and I was very much looking forward to being in Macau in WTCR, but also to help the team and to be part of the WTCR family,” explained Farfus.
“Unfortunately, not like [at the] Nürburgring [24 Hours] where I was allowed to race in both [categories] in the same weekend, at Macau, due to different codes, it is not possible.
“We did try to find a compromise but unfortunately it was out of my control. It’s a one-off [absence] but I’ll be back again [in WTCR].
“I will definitely be following extremely closely my team and will be at their disposal. I have limited experience with the car in Macau, but I will be there to help the team, follow them and do all I can. I will be hoping to see all the BRC cars in front.”